Delphinium robustum - Rydb.
Wahatoya Creek Larkspur
Other Common Names: Wahatoya Creek larkspur
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Delphinium robustum Rydb. (TSN 18505)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.145897
Element Code: PDRAN0B1K0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Buttercup Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Ranunculales Ranunculaceae Delphinium
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Delphinium robustum
Taxonomic Comments: Delphinium robustum is treated as a distinct species by some treatments such as Flora North America vol. 3 (1997) and Kartesz (1999), but in other treatments like Weber and Whitman (2012) it is not distinct from D. ramosum. In New Mexico, it is morphologically similar to D. saponellis (Sivinski 2011), however, B. Sinvinski (pers.comm. 2015) indicated that it is a relatively good taxon and that all of the tall larkspurs in New Mexico are confusing. As of 2015 the Colorado Natural Heritage Program considers this a distinct taxon until genetic work is done to show otherwise.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 03Dec2015
Global Status Last Changed: 03Dec2015
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Found in broad canyon bottoms and meadows in southern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico. In 1998 when an attempt to survey the known locations of the species in Colorado were conducted, only 3 of the 9 locations were extant (Beatty et al. 2004).  In 2015, several new occurrences were discovered in Colorado and botanists believe that there might be more undiscovered localities.  This species faces several threats including construction, recreation, roads and their maintenance, non-native species and other threats related to its biology such as inadequate pollinators.  It is considered sporadically distributed in the northern mountain ranges in New Mexico (Sivinski 2011).
Nation: United States
National Status: N2N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Colorado (S2?), New Mexico (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Colorado: local, in canyon bottoms of Spanish Peaks, Cuchara Valley, and La Garita Hills, west side of San Luis Valley. New Mexico: three northeastern counties bordering Colorado.

Area of Occupancy: 6-25 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: The area of occupancy is between 6 and 17, 2 x 2 km grid cells.  This estimate was determined by the number of element occurrences in NatureServe's database and newer collections of specimens as indicated by SEINet, an online consortia of herbarium collections (2015 global rank assessment).

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: Beatty et al. (2004) reports that in 1998 all of the known sites in Colorado were revisited and no plants were found at 6 of the 9 known locations. Additionally, Beatty et al. (2004) note that no other inventory work was completed between 1998 and the previous 30 years when the species was discovered. As of 2015, however, several locations of this species were discovered in Priest Gulch by Colorado botanist Al Schneider. He believes that there are far more occurrences than what he discovered (pers. comm. J. Handwerk). It is considered sporadically distributed in northern New Mexico, however, it has not been systematically assessed (Sivinski 2011) and in 2015 it still wasn't systematically addressed but it is believed to be sufficient in numbers not to be endangered (pers. comm. E. Muldavin).

Population Size Comments: The population size for this species is not known, however, in 2015 when additional locations of this species were located in Priest Gulch, between a dozen to several dozen (pers. comm. J. Handwerk).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats to this species include vehicles, recreation, structure construction, road construction and maintenance, erosion and sedimentation from roads, livestock trampling, and alteration of natural disturbance such as fire (Beatty et al. 2004). Other threats exist such as drought, non-native species, herbivory, genetic isolation, hybridization, inadequate pollinators and climate change (Beatty et al. 2004). Some species of Delphinium are poisonous to cattle, so the genus as a whole is sometimes targeted for poisonous weed control (Sivinski 1999).

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: Population trends in this species are not known given how little is known about the distribution and abundance of extant occurrences.  

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Colorado: local, in canyon bottoms of Spanish Peaks, Cuchara Valley, and La Garita Hills, west side of San Luis Valley. New Mexico: three northeastern counties bordering Colorado.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CO, NM

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CO Costilla (08023)*, Huerfano (08055)*, Las Animas (08071)*, Saguache (08109)*, Teller (08119)
NM Colfax (35007), Mora (35033), Taos (35055)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
11 Upper Arkansas (11020002)+, Huerfano (11020006)+*, Purgatoire (11020010)+*, Cimarron (11080002)+*, Upper Canadian (11080003)+
13 Alamosa-Trinchera (13010002)+*, Saguache (13010004)+*, Upper Rio Grande (13020101)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A coarse perennial herb, 1.5-2.5 m tall, with deeply lobed leaves. Produces dark blue flowers from July to September.
General Description: Perennial herb 1-2 m tall; stems glabrous or puberulent, sometimes reddish at the base; leaves all on stem and withered from the basal 1/5 of the stem at the time of anthesis, petioles 7-13 cm long, blades 10-20 cm long and 7-12 cm wide, palmately divided into 5 main lobes, each lobe further dissected into additional lobes or teeth that are rounded at the apex or acute with a blunt tooth (mucro); inflorescence of racemes that are paniculately branched at the base in larger specimens, 40- to 100-flowered, branches and pedicels with short hairs; sepals ovate-acute, bluish purple or pale lavender, rarely pink, sparsely pubescent, lateral sepals forward pointing, 9-14 mm long, the upper sepal extended basally into a spur 9-13 mm long; petal blades hairy, cleft, 5-7 mm long (New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council 1999). Plants in Colorado have been observed to be 3 m or more tall (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Delphinium ramosum is typically a shorter plant with pubescent lower stems and unbranched racemes (Sivinski 1999).
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous
Habitat Comments: In Colorado, it grows in broad canyon bottoms; in New Mexico, is found in meadows between 2100 and 2600 m elevation.
Canyon bottoms and aspen groves in lower and upper montane coniferous forest 2200-3400 m (7200-11200 ft) (Sivinski 1999)

Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any naturally occurring population that is separated by a sufficient distance or barrier from a neighboring population.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1.61 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 3.22 km
Separation Justification: The rationale for this large a separation distance across suitable but apparently unoccupied habitat is that it is likely additional research will find this habitat to be occupied. It can often be assumed that apparently unconnected populations will eventually be found to be more closely connected; these are best regarded as suboccurrences. No information on mobility of pollen and propagules is available on which to base the separation distance for this species.
Date: 27Sep2000
Author: Spackman, S. and D. Anderson
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: Size: No quantitative information is available on population size at this time for Delphinium robustum. Condition: the occurrence has an excellent likelihood of long-term viability as evidenced by the presence of multiple age classes and evidence of flowering and fruiting, indicating that the reproductive mechanisms are intact. This occurrence should be in a high-quality site with less than 1% cover of exotic plant species and/or no significant anthropogenic disturbance. Landscape Context: the occurrence is surrounded by an area that is unfragmented and includes the ecological processes needed to sustain this species. In subalpine meadows, this species may depend on the maintenance of snow glades or a natural fire regime for its persistence.
Good Viability: Size: No quantitative information is available on population size at this time for Delphinium robustum. Condition: the occurrence should have a good likelihood of long-term viability as evidenced by the presence of multiple age classes and evidence of flowering and fruiting, indicating that the reproductive mechanisms are intact. Anthropogenic disturbance within the occurrence is minimal. If exotic species are present, they comprise less than 10% of the total ground cover. Landscape Context: the surrounding landscape should contain the ecological processes needed to sustain the occurrence but may be fragmented and/or impacted by humans.
Fair Viability: Size: No quantitative information is available on population size at this time for Delphinium robustum. Condition: The occurrence may be less productive than the above situations, but is still viable, with multiple age classes and evidence of flowering and fruiting, indicating that the reproductive mechanisms are intact. The occupied habitat is somewhat degraded (exotic plant species make up between 10-50% of the total ground cover and/or there is a moderate level of anthropogenic disturbance). Landscape Context: there may be significant human disturbance, but the ecological processes needed to sustain the species are still intact.
Poor Viability: Size: Less than 10 individuals. Condition: Little or no evidence of successful reproduction is observed (poor seedling recruitment, no flowering or fruiting observed, or poor age class distribution). Exotic plant species make up greater than 50% of the total ground cover, and/or there is a significant level of human disturbance. Landscape context: the surrounding area is fragmented with many ecological processes no longer intact. The occurrence has a low probability of long-term persistence due to inbreeding depression, natural stochastic events, and its intrinsic vulnerability to human impacts.
Justification: A Rank: No quantitative information is available on population size for this species at this time. Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, to have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. When more information is acquired, the eospecs should be reassessed.

C Rank: EOs not meeting "C"-rank criteria are likely to have a very high probability of inbreeding depression and extirpation due to natural stochastic processes and/or occur in degraded habitat with low long-term potential for survival. We estimate that the effects of inbreeding depression would become severe over time in an isolated population of less than 10 individuals, although there is no data available on the population biology of this species or on the sizes of known populations at this time.

Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 27Sep2000
Author: Spackman, S. and D. Anderson
Notes: COHP
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 03Dec2015
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Spackman, S. and D. Anderson (2000), rev. A. Olivero (2003), rev. L. Oliver (2015)

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, ed. (FNA). 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Oxford Univ. Press, New York, Oxford.

  • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.


  • Beatty, B.L., W.F. Jennings, and R.C. Rawlinson (2004, July 26). Delphinium robustum Rydb. (Wahatoya Creek larkspur): a technical conservation assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/delphiniumrobustum.pdf [March 2006].

  • Beatty, B.L., W.F. Jennings, and R.C. Rawlinson (2004, July 26). Delphinium robustum Rydb. (Wahatoya Creek larkspur): a technical conservation assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/delphiniumrobustum.pdf [Nov. 11, 2015].

  • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2006. The Third Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: G2 Plants of Southeast Colorado. Symposium Minutes. Available on-line http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/teams/botany.asp#symposia.

  • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2012. Biodiversity Tracking and Conservation System. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.


  • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2012. The Ninth Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: G2 and G3 Plants of Southeastern Colorado. Symposium Minutes. Available on-line http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/teams/botany.asp#symposia.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1997. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 3. Magnoliophyta: Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiii + 590 pp.

  • Gierisch, R. 1943. Specimen collections.

  • Harrington, H. 1959. Specimen collections at Colorado State University Herbarium.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Lavender, A.E., M.M. Fink, S.E. Linn, D.M. Theobald. 2011. Colorado Ownership, Management, and Protection v9 Database. Colorado Natural Heritage Program and Geospatial Centroid, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. (30 September).

  • Martin, W.C., and C.R. Hutchins. 1980-1981. A flora of New Mexico. 1980, Vol. 1; 1981, Vol. 2. J. Cramer, in der A.R. Gantner Verlag, K.G., Vaduz, Liechtenstein. 2591 pp.

  • Neely, B., S. Panjabi, E. Lane, P. Lewis, C. Dawson, A. Kratz, B. Kurzel, T. Hogan, J. Handwerk, S. Krishnan, J. Neale, and N. Ripley. 2009. Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Strategy, Developed by the Colorado Rare Plant conservation Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Boulder, Colorado, 117 pp.

  • New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council. 1999. New Mexico Rare Plants. Albuquerque, NM: New Mexico Rare Plants Home Page. http://nmrareplants.unm.edu (Latest update: 30 March 2012).

  • New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council. 1999. New Mexico Rare Plants. Albuquerque, NM: New Mexico Rare Plants Home Page. http://nmrareplants.unm.edu (Latest update: 30 March 2012).

  • Painter, B. 1978. Specimen collections at Colorado State University Herbarium.

  • Sivinski, R. 2011. Delphinium robustum, New Mexico Rare Plants. Online at: http://nmrareplants.unm.edu/rarelist_single.php?SpeciesID=65 (accessed 11/11/15).

  • USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

  • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 555 pp.

  • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 1996a. Colorado flora: Eastern slope. Revised edition. Univ. Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 524 pp.

  • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 2012b. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, a field guide to the vascular plants, fourth edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.

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